CheqUPI, a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) wallet designed specifically for foreign nationals, has clinched a spot in the Y Combinator Accelerator Program for the Summer 2023 Batch. The company has also secured $500,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by the accelerator.
CheqUPI aims to revolutionise how foreign nationals and non-resident Indians (NRIs) experience digital payments in India. Despite the widespread adoption of UPI in the country, foreign nationals have faced hurdles due to the requirement of an Indian bank account and phone number. It intends to bridge this gap and provide foreign visitors a seamless digital payment experience.
Manish Kumar Shukla, co-founder and CTO of CheqUPI, said, "With approximately 55 million merchants accepting UPI and nearly a billion transactions per month, UPI has transformed the payment landscape in India. However, various constraints have excluded foreign nationals and NRIs from this ecosystem. CheqUPI is on a mission to serve this underserved audience and simplify digital payments for those visiting India."
The Indian tourism industry has witnessed a significant surge in foreign tourist arrivals, with over 2.5 million visitors in the first quarter of 2023. With expectations of an 80 per cent recovery to pre-pandemic levels, the UPI market for foreign nationals in India presents a $652 million opportunity. CheqUPI aims to leverage its expertise to develop innovative fintech products on top of the UPI platform, catering to the needs of NRIs and tourists.
Sudhanshu Shekhar, co-founder and CEO of CheqUPI, added, "Cheq helps foreigners experience India like locals. We're committed to offering foreigners and NRIs a world-class payment experience built in India."
Founded in 2021, CheqUPI is recognised as India's first UPI wallet for foreign nationals. The app, developed in collaboration with Transcorp International Limited, allows users to add funds using any debit or credit card, enabling a cashless and hassle-free trip.
The fintech startup has gained popularity among tourists for its robust security measures, ensuring safe transactions and reducing the need for ATM visits and foreign exchange costs.
Harj Tagger, managing director and group partner at Y Combinator, commented on the selection of CheqUPI for the accelerator program, stating, "Y Combinator has a proven track record of helping founders build strong companies. Cheq, with its unique and innovative solution in the fintech space, earned its place in the program. We're confident that the Cheq app will appeal to a large audience in the coming years."
CheqUPI's swift response to regulatory changes was key in securing a coveted spot in the three-month Y Combinator program. With a nominal joining fee of $10, the UPI company has successfully onboarded hundreds of foreign nationals and NRIs actively using the wallet for daily transactions.
The fintech platform has garnered significant attention from its target audience and has built a loyal customer base through referrals, contributing to its organic growth. In just a short time since its inception, CheqUPI has witnessed a strong demand for its product among the Indian expat audience.
Since its launch, the team has serviced customers from 24 different nationalities. Many travellers from the USA, Britain and Germany are already enjoying Cheq UPI and the team expects to service more than 50,000 travellers in FY 2024.